"Racial divisions in Florida's increasingly diverse state have become a tense undercurrent coursing through the redistricting debate in Tallahassee as lawmakers decide how far to go to carve out new districts for Florida's growing ethnic minorities."
Last month, Republican Sen. Alan Hays angered his Cuban colleagues when he suggested the citizenship of every Hispanic resident be verified before legislators draw any Hispanic-majority districts. Two weeks ago, Senate Democratic leader Nan Rich criticized a proposal by the NAACP for attempting to keep many of the state's existing minority districts intact, despite voter approval of new redistricting standards."At the center of the debate are new constitutional Amendments 5 and 6, which prohibit legislators, as they embark on the once-a-decade reapportionment process, from making it more difficult for language and racial minorities to elect candidates of their choice."
Known in redistricting terms as "retrogression," it means that minorities end up in worse shape after redistricting than before."Minorities a redistricting wild card". See also "Senate expected to unveil redistricting proposal today" and "Fla. Senate set to release redistricting plan" (The Florida Senate is set to release its proposed plan for redrawing the state's legislative and congressional districts Monday.)
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Months after gerrymandering new political districts to bolster the Republicans' stranglehold on power, Hillsborough County commissioners have agreed to discuss redrawing political lines ostensibly to give Hispanics — the county's largest minority group — a better chance at winning a commission seat. But there are other motivations that are less than pure." "District push too parochial".
Looks good in a campaign mailer
"A bipartisan group of legislators is scheduled to announce plans for a new caucus aimed at preserving the Everglades." "Legislators to announce Everglades caucus".
Scott gets a "Document Dump"
"Public university leaders, through thousands of pages of answers that include backup academic studies and appendixes, have replied to Gov. Rick Scott’s request to outline what the schools are doing to ensure graduates meet the need of Florida employers. The presidents of the state’s 11 public universities were given until last week to respond to Scott’s Oct. 13 email sent to each school. And as diverse as each campus is, the schools replied using a variety of formats, from secured online pages to discs and pages of bound volumes." "University Presidents Respond to Scott With Document Dump".
"It's plain not a good idea"
Nancy Smith: "If the Florida Legislature wants to pound another screw in the coffin of the middle class during this long recession, it can go ahead with the ill-conceived idea of eliminating tax-free Internet shopping. It's plain not a good idea." "Bad Idea to Tax Internet Shopping".
"Counties Pursuing Slots"
"A controversial decision this month by Gadsden County, allowing voters to decide whether to have slot machines at the new Gretna horse race track, has prompted several copycat efforts in other counties, despite questions over the legality of slots." "After Gadsden Decision, More Counties Pursuing Slots". See also "" and "".
Boletera makes good
"Newly elected Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez did something unusual after being sworn into office earlier this month: He publicly thanked the architect of his victory, campaign manager Sasha Tirador."
It was a rare moment in the spotlight for Tirador, one of a select group of Miami-Dade political consultants who toil in the shadows of campaigns, shaping strategies, crafting messages — and propelling candidates into the spheres of power."Opponents often refer to Tirador as a boletera, an absentee-ballot broker, even though she also writes advertisement scripts, designs fliers, sets up phone banks and organizes get-out-the-vote efforts."
Few operatives have been busier the past year than Tirador, with clients ranging from the county School Board to the state Legislature to Hialeah. In the spring she led two defeated campaigns, Frank Lago for state representative and Julio Robaina for Miami-Dade mayor, but followed that with wins in four Hialeah City Council races.
But it was Hernandez’s 20-percentage point landslide over former Mayor Raul Martinez that may have cemented Tirador’s status as one of the most buzzed about local strategists.
Success is ephemeral in politics, and Tirador has not escaped controversy, particularly over the handling of absentee ballots. Still, her star has clearly risen since leaving Spanish-language radio about five years ago to dedicate herself to campaigns.
Tirador, who lives in the Fontainebleau neighborhood in West Miami-Dade, plans to venture into countywide judicial races in 2012. If approached, she said she would also like to try her hand — for the first time — on a presidential campaign."Hialeah win put behind-the-scenes operative in political spotlight".
Her clients are mostly Republican, but Tirador has registered at different times for different parties. Currently a Democrat, her sole federal campaign contribution was $200 to President Barack Obama in 2008.
"Rousing political speeches "
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "As the Florida Legislature prepares for its 2012 session, illegal immigration is sure to make headlines again. But before Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature proceed, they should take a hard look at the hard-line approaches by Alabama and Georgia and the devastating effect they have had on the states' agricultural interests. What may make for rousing political speeches can result in crops rotting in the fields because there are no workers to harvest them." "Immigration not state's top priority".
"Monday Morning Reads"
"Monday Morning Reads: Thanksgiving recovery edition".
"Opposition’s most effective election strategies"
Anthony Man: "The outcome of next year’s election could be decided far from the polls and long before Election Day. Copying a page from the Republican Party’s playbook, Democrats are hoping to turn one of their opposition’s most effective election strategies into a weapon that could win Florida for President Barack Obama – an outcome that could ensure him a second term in the White House." "Working from Republican playbook, Democrats seek absentee voters".
Dem circles are rife with talk that Dyer will run for governor in 2014
"Buddy Dyer wants voters to give him another term as Orlando's mayor in an election next spring. But if they do, can voters count on him to stay? Local Democratic circles are rife with talk that even if he's re-elected, Dyer will mount a campaign for governor in 2014, midway through his third full term as mayor." "As rumors fly, Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer denies that he would quit to run for governor".
Powerful water bureaucrats
"The state's most-powerful water bureaucrats and the Orlando area's biggest water utilities have met several times this year, in near-secrecy, in an attempt to dole out the last drops of cheap, clean and highly coveted water from the giant Floridan Aquifer." "Utilities, water districts join to map Florida water's future".
"As more Latino Republicans seek and win elected office, their families' backgrounds are becoming subject to increased scrutiny from some Latino activists, a reaction experts say is a result of Latino Republicans' conservative views on immigration. It's a new phenomenon that experts say Latino Democrats rarely faced, and could be a recurring feature in elections as the Republican Party seeks to recruit more Latino candidates."
"It's a trend and we are seeing more of it," said Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles."GOP Latinos face questions over immigrant pasts".
For years, most Latino elected officials were largely Democrats, except in Florida, where Cuban Americans tended to vote Republican. But recently, a new generation of Latino Republicans has won seats in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, California and even Idaho. Those politicians have come under fire from some Latino activists for pushing for laws targeting illegal immigrants and for opposing efforts for comprehensive immigration reform - views that are in line with most Republicans.
And the immigrant advocates are pointing to the GOP Latino elected leaders' own family histories in an effort to paint them as hypocrites. Ignacio Garcia, a history professor at Brigham Young University, said it comes from a long tradition by liberal activists of portraying Latino Republicans as "vendidos," or sellouts, since the majority of Latino voters tend to vote Democratic.
For example, Martinez tried twice in the New Mexico state legislature to overturn a state law that allows illegal immigrants to obtain state drivers' licenses. Then earlier this year, various media outlets reported that a grandfather of Martinez may have been an illegal immigrant. The reports sparked immigrant advocates to protests outside the state Capitol with poster-size photos of Martinez on drivers' licenses.
Martinez, a Republican and the nation's only Latina governor, ordered her political organization to research her family's background and found documents that suggested that her grandfather legally entered the country and had various work permits.
The episode drew criticism, even from those who opposed Martinez' efforts on state driver's licenses. "This has nothing to do with her views and how she governs," said Michael A. Olivas, an immigration law professor at the University of Houston who also is aiding in a lawsuit against a Martinez's administration probe over the license fight. "I don't think it's fair for people to dig around in her family's past."
In Florida, Rubio's official Senate website until recently described his parents as having fled Cuba following Fidel Castro's takeover. But media organizations reported last month that Rubio's parents and his maternal grandfather emigrated for economic reasons more than two years before the Cuban Revolution.
"Political consulting paradigms"
"Political consulting paradigms changing for First Coast firms that advise campaigns".
Trib editors luv their Marco
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "At the same time the failure of the supercommittee has partisan passions enflamed in Washington, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is finding a way to forge a bipartisan partnership. Rubio, a Republican, has joined with Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons to sponsor the American Growth, Recovery, Empowerment and Entrepreneurship – or AGREE – Act." "A sensible step toward compromise".
"Labor tensions mount"
"Labor tensions mount at Jackson Health System".
LeMieux "Half True"
"George LeMieux's campaign has claimed at least three times — in a press release, an online ad and in a comment from its spokeswoman — that Mack, a four-term congressman from Southwest Florida, 'voted to raise his own pay several times.'" "PolitiFact Florida: George LeMieux says Connie Mack repeatedly voted to raise his own paycheck".